Every type of professional firm has projects. Success of a project, whether it is a house, high-rise, bridge, technology upgrade or an audit, requires several key items:
- Goals & Objectives
- Metrics to Evaluate Success
Goals and objectives must be clear, concise, achievable and measurable. Clear goals flow directly from the project vision. Scheduling and as needed, utilization of outsource resources, defines how the vision will be achieved. For better control, you may break the project into phases or parts. Measurable goals and objectives is a critical key to success.
“What gets measured, gets done.”
Peter F. Drucker, Management Guru
Tracking Project Success
BillQuick includes many reports that help project managers stay on top of the activities and expenses charged to their projects. Depending on company policies, project managers may also be responsible for business management of their projects.
Project managers do not need to take time away from clients and their projects to generate reports. Any report in BillQuick can be scheduled for automatic delivery using the Agent Workflow Automation module. Scheduled reports can be printed or emailed to managers whether they are in the office or on the road. In addition, if the managers need instant notification of an event, like a project going over-budget, Agent’s Business Alerts can notify them at their desk or via email.
The most common reports utilized to manage projects are:
- Over-Budget Projects
- Budget Comparison
- Project Contract Spent
- Project Time & Expenses
Among project managers with business management responsibilities, these additional reports are commonly used:
- Percentage Billed
- Project Profitability
- Work in Hand by Project Manager
Simple and straightforward, this report shows you which projects are over-budget. Checking this report daily (for example) identifies an exception situation that demands immediate attention.
The core report used by most project managers, Budget Comparison, shows you what was budgeted (hours and amount), how much has been burned and how much remains. When you go over-budget on any item – or over the total budget, the report highlights it for you.
Variations of this report include Budget Comparison Summary, Budget Comparison by Employee, Budget Comparison by Employee Title and Budget-Cost Comparison.
Project Contract Spent
Not all projects have budgets, but most projects should have a contract amount. A contract amount may be a hard number agreed to with the client. It may be an expectation you set with a client. Or the contract amount may be a benchmark you use to gauge your team’s ability to deliver quality, profitable work. Whatever the situation, tracking the contract amount spent is a quick way to know where you are. When comparing the contract spent to project to-date charges, your experience will tell you whether you are above or below where you should be. This may lead you to drill down into detailed job cost and other information.
BillQuick also includes a Project Contract Spent report that shows separately services and expenses spent.
Project Time & Expenses
For a detailed review of time and expenses, this report lists all items: Actual Hours Charged, Billing Hours to the client, Amount (Bill Value) and Cost (Cost Value). It also indicates if the service or expense has been billed. The report also shows the total contract amount and whether you are under- or over-contract. BillQuick includes more than 20 reports containing job costs and related information.
When project managers also have billing responsibilities, knowing how much of the contract has been billed is important. In some cases, you will compare the amount billed to your appraisal of the project’s progress (percent complete). In other situations, you may use this in combination with the Billing Review report and the Work in Hand report (see below) when making billing decisions.
Every project has goals, including profitability. In some cases, you might track profit in terms of gross margin percentage . . .
While in others you may want to view profit in dollars.
BillQuick offers five project profit reports. You will also find a detailed project profit report to help you track down exactly what activities and expenses pushed you off course.
Work-in-Hand by Project Manager
Knowing how much work is in your hands is very useful.
First, your boss has the same information for all project managers. He will use it to make sure each manager is not overloaded. As needed, he may shift management of one or more of your projects or phases to another person to lighten your load.
Second, you may use the Work in Hand report along with other reports in project status meetings. For example, you know the project is only 20% done but 27% of the contract has been spent already. Using the information at your fingertips, including notes kept in BillQuick’s Project Journal, you can explain the unexpected issues and that they will demand more time to keep under control. Stepping up and discussing these with your boss shows that you are thinking about the potential impact on client relationships and the company’s reputation. This may also lead to shifting of one or more of your projects to another manager.
What reports do you use
to manage projects?